Monday, December 28, 2015

Empty Threats Or The Next Conflict? - ISIS Threatens Israel

Empty Threats Or The Next Conflict? - ISIS Threatens Israel
December 28, 2015  
By Kade Hawkins
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After 7 months of silence, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS's secretive leader has released an audio recording on social media to bolster his followers following several weeks of setbacks.

ISIS is on the defensive, and even in a state of withdrawal in many areas. The group has lost as much as 40% of it's territory in Iraq and Syria, including the important Iraqi city of Ramadi just this week.

The speech is clearly an attempt to boost spirits by focusing on the one country that seems to ignite deep passion in the spirits of every Muslim - Israel.

Baghdadi pledged the Islamic state would soon be in Palestine to establish Islamic rule, saying “The Jews thought we forgot Palestine and that they had distracted us from it. Not at all, Jews. We did not forget Palestine for a moment. With the help of Allah, we will not forget it… The pioneers of the jihadist fighters will surround you on a day that you think is distant and we know is close. We are getting closer every day.”

Using Israel as part of a rallying cry is a shift in strategy that may be due to criticism al-Baghadi has received in the Arab world for focusing too much on fellow Muslims and not enough on the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

In 2014 ISIS responded to questions online about why it was not fighting Israel instead of Muslims by saying the following,

“We haven’t given orders to kill the Israelis and the Jews. The war against the nearer enemy, those who rebel against the faith, is more important. Allah commands us in the Koran to fight the hypocrites, because they are much more dangerous than those who are fundamentally heretics.”

As proof, the organization cited the first caliph, Abu Bakr, who began by fighting those who rebelled against the faith, as well as Saladin, who fought the Shi’ites in Egypt before conquering Jerusalem.

Directly in the crosshairs of those it considers to be apostates are the Saudi and Jordanian Kings. Saudi Arabia was directly mentioned in the recording with al-Baghadi encouraging citizens to, “rise up against the apostate tyrants, and avenge your people in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.”

He also mocked the new 34 nation anti-ISIS coalition that Saudi Arabia recently announced and accused Saudi rulers of launching an air campaign against Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen only to please the West.

“They announced lately a coalition… falsely called ‘Islamic,’ and announced its goal is to fight the caliphate. If this coalition were Islamic, it would have announced victory and aid to the people of Syria,” he said.

After Saudi Arabia and Jordan, ISIS has scores to settle with the Prime Minister of Iraq, the President of Egypt and even the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood before it finally gets to Israel.

However make no mistake - Israel is viewed as the ultimate prize and will always be in the crosshairs of any Islamic leader looking to establish creditably in the Muslim world.

Israel's military however, poses a significant military threat to ISIS. According to Jürgen Todenhöfer, a former member of the German Parliament and the only Western journalist whom the terror group has allowed to be embedded into it's camps, “The only country ISIS fears is Israel. They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them.”

ISIS has fought a back and forth battle with other rebel groups to maintain a presence near Israel's Golan Heights. Such a presence gives it more credibility when it makes threats regarding Israel as it could easily launch missiles, set landmines or even infiltrate Israeli territory from this area.

However, ISIS also knows that if it crosses Israel's red lines then Israel would respond with overwhelming force in an effort to maintain a rigorous deterrent to any future attacks.

Israel is taking no chances in waiting for ISIS to act on such threats and according to Debka Intelligence has sped up it's timetable of deploying a new Commando Brigade by two months.

Debka Intelligence details the 89th Commando Brigade as composed of four elite battalions that specialize in hitting the enemy in his back yard or at home:

Duvdevan - specializes in operating amidst an Arab population under deep cover for locating and arresting terror suspects.

Egoz - is a special kind of infantry battalion, whose commandos operate solo or in very small teams behind enemy lines, especially across the Syrian and Lebanese borders.

Maglan - is skilled in the use of weaponry designed for precision operations against high quality enemy targets. These elite fighters go deep inside enemy territory to gather intelligence and use their specialized technology, exclusive for the use of this unit, for devastating assaults.

Rimon - members are desert fighters who gained their experience in the terrain of the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Their experience as back-up for operations against drug smugglers is invaluable for urban combat in civilian environments.

Time will tell if the latest propaganda from ISIS means they are willing to take on Israel anytime soon, however the last thing ISIS needs right now is such a formidable foe added to it's growing list of nations prepared to engage the terrorist group.

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